COVID-19 Coronavirus

For the most up-to-date information, please see Denison’s primary COVID-19 Coronavirus information page.

Faculty and Staff,

This week, Governor DeWine announced plans for the responsible return to operations for the state of Ohio. Those plans provide dates and guidance for how organizations can begin the safe return of employees to offices and other work sites. I want to provide details on what this means for Denison and our operations.

First, while Governor DeWine provided a timeline for the gradual return to operations beginning as early as Monday, May 4, Denison will operate on its own schedule for a gradual return over the next several months. In doing so, we will continue to prioritize safety.

The Governor’s guidance urges continued work from home where possible. Recognizing that much of our work can continue to be done remotely, we have the advantage of being able to approach the return to operations thoughtfully and do it the right way, over time.

Phase 1

For the first phase of our return to operations through the end of May, we will maintain our focus on minimizing the number of people on campus by limiting on-campus work to that which is essential for operations and to those activities necessary to advance our mission and keep the college healthy. This approach is effective in ensuring essential and necessary work can continue, while protecting the health and safety of those doing it. It is also important to limit the number of faculty and staff on campus in order to support the no-contact move out process we have established for students and families from May 4-May 31.

Essential and Necessary Work

Each Vice President will be responsible for determining what work is essential and necessary to be performed on campus. They will work with supervisors to inform individuals in those roles and on implementing plans that provide flexibility where necessary, recognizing that for many childcare and other constraints remain. Importantly, staff who are not currently scheduled to work on campus should not do so without instruction from their supervisor. We expect that most faculty and administrative staff will continue to work remotely.

Even where work is deemed necessary and essential, we ask supervisors and employees to limit time on campus as much as possible. For instance, if the essential or necessary work that must be done on campus can be completed in 10 hours per week, the employee should only be on campus for those 10 hours, not full time.

For any hourly employee whose work is deemed essential and necessary, we will continue to pay a premium rate for hours worked on campus. In addition to being paid for regular scheduled hours, employees will also be paid an additional 15% of their regular rate for hours approved and worked on campus.

Health and Safety

For those working on campus or for those returning to campus periodically, the new state mandate necessitates wearing a mask unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, against documented industry best practices, or not permitted by federal or state laws/regulations. A face covering is not required if an employee is working alone in an enclosed office space. Employees are encouraged to wear their own masks if they have them. Disposable masks will be made available for those who don’t have their own. During regular work hours, individuals should contact Steve Gauger at or 740-587-8660 to schedule a time for a no-contact pick up of a face mask/covering. After hours, call Campus Safety 740-587-0810 to schedule a time for pick up. Additional information about face mask guidelines will be sent soon.

Additionally, employees must perform a daily symptoms check and stay home if their temperature is above 100.4 degrees, or if they feel ill. While at work, employees must maintain social distancing best practices including remaining 6 feet away from others, washing hands regularly with soap and water, and using hand sanitizer.

We will implement protocol for the frequent disinfection of work spaces and high-contact surfaces and perform daily disinfection of common areas in locations where employees are working on campus.

Activity on Campus

Our campus continues to be active. Our community neighbors are on our grounds everyday enjoying the outdoors and taking a break from being cooped up inside, construction and other campus projects continue and, of course, faculty and staff continue to work. This activity will increase as the weather improves, stay-at-home orders are lifted and as we slowly ease into our return to operations. In addition, a few families of prospective students have expressed interest in visiting campus as they are thinking about plans for next year. We are not promoting campus tours or opening the Admission Office to visitors but we want to make sure those who come to see campus do so safely so you may see an admission team member showing them around campus and ensuring they are following safety procedures and remaining outside of buildings.

The Next Phase of Returning to Full Operations

Again, because a significant amount of work can continue to be done well remotely, and because the academic year is coming to an end, we can be thoughtful and take our time in managing this process. A team has been assembled to develop that plan and will share details as they are available.

While much remains uncertain, I am optimistic as we begin this next phase of managing this global health crisis. We will continue to move forward together, guided by our values and staying true to our Denison ways of approaching challenges with creativity, adaptability and tenacity.


May 2, 2020